Q&A (Fatwa)

#443: Where to begin the Rows in Congregational Salāt


” Salaam Alaikum. Good morning Please I have a question regarding congregation Prayers.
When one joins in Prayer and starts a new row after the first row, do you start from the center or extreme far right?
Jazakallahu Khairan”


Wa alaykum salaam warahmatullāhi wabarakātuh

Alhamdulillāh, Wa Jazākumullāhu Khayran.

Bārakallāhu Fīkum

What is closest to the Sunnah is to begin the row directly behind the Imaam, regardless of whether it is the first, the second or the last row; then to balance the number in such a way that the Imaam is in the middle, but whenever one enters the Masjid and the last row is with almost a balance, then it is better to join the row on the right side.

Evidence for this is the Hadith in which the Rasūl – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – said:

: “ليلني منكم أولو الأحلام والنهى ثم الذين يَلُونَهم، ثم الذين يَلُونهم، ولا تختلفوا فتختَلِفَ قلوبكم، وإيَّاكم وهَيْشَات الأسواق

“Let those of you who have reached maturity and possessed of Intellect be closer to me; followed by those who are closest to them, and then those that are closer to them. And do not disorganize that your hearts may not be in disarray. And beware of the rowdiness and noise that is characteristic of the markets.”

Transmitted and recorded by Imām Muslim

The majority of the Ulamā use this and the weak hadith that follows to justify that the rows must begin from immediately behind the Imām.

Imām Abu Daawud – rahimahullaah – in the Sunan recorded from the illustrous Companion Abu Hurayrah – radiyallaahu anhu – that the Rasūl – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – said:

( وَسِّطُوا الإِمَامَ ، وَسُدُّوا الْخَلَلَ )

“Place the Imām in the middle (of your rows) and cover all gaps.”

The Hadith has been declared weak by Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddin Al-Albaani rahimahullaah and others.

Imām Al-Munaawi – rahimahullaah – said in ‘Al-Faydu Al-Qadir’:

“What this means is: put him in your middle and attain a balance of rows, that each side of the right and the left can share in their hearing and closeness to him.”

Imaam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi – rahimahullaah – said in Al-Mughni:

“And it is mustahabb that the Imaam be positioned in front of the rows in a middle and balanced position…”

Imaam An-Nawawi – rahimahullaah – said:

“And it is preferred that they make the Imaam to be in their middle and that they surround him from both sides.”

While some of the Ulamā prefer that the rows begin from the right, this is a very weak position based on the Ahaadith that have preceded.

As for the Hadith in which the Rasūl – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – said:

((إنَّ الله وملائكته يُصَلُّون على ميامن الصُّفوف))

“Indeed Allāh and His Messenger send prayers upon the right sides of the Rows.”

It is recorded by Ibn Hibban and Abū Daawud, though Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaani – rahimahullaah – declared it Hasan in the Fat’h, the Hadith is weak, and the ‘Mahfudh’ is the Hadith in which the Rasūl – salallaahu alayhi wasallam – said:

((إن الله وملائكته يصلُّون على الذين يَصِلُون الصفوف))

“Indeed Allāh and His Angels send prayers upon those that connect the Rows.”

Assuming the Hadith was Sahih, it would not be an unrestricted justification for beginning the rows from the right, given the Ahaadith that has preceded.

We have stated that the Ulamā agree that though the row begins from the middle, whenever one enters the Masjid and there has been some balance in the row right and left-ways, it is better to join the row from the right.

Allāhu A’alam

Bārakallāhu Fīkum
Jazākumullāhu Khayran.

19 Dhul Qadah 1437

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